cover image Tessa Takes Wing

Tessa Takes Wing

Richard Jackson, illus. by Julie Downing. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-439-6

Tessa wakes up just before dawn. “Up,” she says, as babies her age are wont to do. But when no one responds, the plump, round-faced Tessa doesn’t cry or pout. Instead, she sprouts a tiny pair of wings—just like those on the butterflies in her crib mobile—and flies around the house. Never touching the ground, Tessa heads for her older sister’s toys and polka-dotted umbrella, her glee apparent as she plays with what are almost certainly forbidden objects. She reads to Bingo the dog, who seems unsurprised but thoroughly delighted with his little, suddenly aerodynamic owner. She flies back to the crib as the rest of the family stirs at sunrise, but soon she’s “up” again in real life (“up in her high chair... up on Daddy’s shoulders... up, up high in Mama’s arms—almost as if she were flying”). Jackson (Have a Look, Says Book) employs minimal text with zephyr-like wit, and digitized watercolors by Downing (No Hugs Till Saturday) make Tessa’s flight both comically balletic and emotionally real. More poem than story, it’s also a wonderful reminder that everyone is capable of a rich fantasy life. Ages 3–6. [em](July) [/em]